Dance… me and you…
Ang Akin Kwento… Our Story
For one night, the culture of the Philippines invaded the University of Central Florida through a flood of movement and food. The university’s annual event, Sayaw (Tagalog for “dance”), was organized by its Filipino Student Association and featured the motions of the islands.
Two hosts took the audience on a journey through the Philippines and introduced each dance which was unique to a particular region. The dancers, mostly UCF students, stepped in between slamming bamboo poles, twirled patterned cloths, and moved their wrists to the music. Perhaps the piece that received the most praise involved couples dancing atop wood benches and leaping from bench to bench. Another audience favorite featured a group of men slamming coconuts against coconut halves attached to parts of their bodies… and it didn’t hurt that all the guys were shirtless.
Philippine dancing is very unlike the stereotypical Chinese or Japanese performances. Filipinos dance with a more Asian folk-ish air… and unlike their Asian neighbors, Philippine pieces seem more catered to allow the talents of every performer– no matter the skill level. And watching Sayaw solidified another thought– that all Filipinos love to dance. Aside from cultural dances, FSA’s own F.O.B.(Fresh Off the Beat) dance crew also led some hip-hop routines.
I was very impressed with the organization, dedication, and manpower delivered by FSA. Although all the dances were not delivered with total precision and intensity, each still received high praise and made me jealous about my hometown Tampa’s current lack of dancers. In order to deliver that many dances, scores and scores of performers and stage crew were needed– probably while still studying for midterms too. I look forward to next year’s event and hope that Tampa’s own Philippine scene will step up meanwhile.